Rents soar in regions

Rents are rising fast in regions around Auckland, according to new figures from Trade Me Property, adding more fuel to the theory that our biggest city's overheated property market is increasingly affecting other parts of the country.

The median weekly asking rent in Auckland rose by 3 per cent over the past year, but in Waikato it jumped by 7.5 per cent, Northland by 11.9 per cent and the Bay of Plenty by 16.7 per cent according to the site's rental index.

Trade Me Property head Nigel Jeffries said that while Auckland holds the spotlight in the for-sale market, it was a different picture for rental properties. "The housing market in the City of Sails presents real challenges for first-home buyers as average asking prices broke records again, at $848,100 in June. But things are more manageable on the rental front, with the median weekly asking rent up just $15 a week on a year ago."

Jeffries said the three regions near Auckland surpassed it in year-on-year growth in median weekly asking rent, indicating Auckland's continued "halo effect" in both the for sale and rental markets.

"Rising house prices in Auckland have seen activity in the surrounding regions boom. Tenants in the Bay of Plenty took a $3120 hit to the wallet over the past year, with median weekly rent for a typical property up a whopping 17 per cent on a year ago to $420 a week."

Northland also outpaced Auckland, with a 12 per cent annual increase in median weekly rent, up $10 a week in June to $330, and adding $1800 to the annual bill for tenants.

Other regions seeing increases in median weekly rent included Manawatu/Whanganui, Hawke's Bay, and Otago. Excluding Auckland, the national median weekly rent was up 5.6 per cent per annum to $430 a week.

Jeffries said it had been a decent year for tenants in Christchurch with a consistent downward trend in median weekly rent, but it was a different story for landlords with empty properties.

"In June, the Garden City entered its 14th consecutive month of rental declines as landlords weathered the economic challenges facing the region. Median weekly rent sat at $400 a week in June, down 9 per cent on last year, and down $50 per week since June 2014."

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